Wednesday night at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance leadership dinner, James Comey told a story about one of his daughters in which he hinted that he has both a secret Twitter and Instagram account.
Ashley Feinberg, a reporter for Gizmodo Media, set out to find his secret identity.
— Kevin Rincon (@KevRincon) March 30, 2017
In her search for the FBI director's social media accounts, Feinberg only know a few things for sure:
The account has to be relatively new, since Comey recently said he "to be on Twitter now."
His Instagram has nine followers, which include immediate relatives and a significant other of one of his daughters.
Instagram is not easy to search, so Feinberg headed to Twitter with these clues. She searched for Comey's family members, and eventually found his 22-year-old son, Brien Comey, who was a basketball player at Kenyon.
Feinberg found a tweet about Brien from the Kenyon College basketball team's account.
Brien Comey teaching the lost art of the midrange game @twittafuzz pic.twitter.com/buX0bAWO
— Kenyon Basketball (@KenyonBball) February 5, 2013
The mentioned account, @twittafuzz, has been scooped up by someone else -- but if you search for it, you'll see people congratulating the owner of the account for having his dad's promotion to head of the FBI.
The search then led Feinberg to a tweet, which has a link to an Instagram account -- and tagged in the post is none other than Brien Comey.
— Kenyon Sports (@KenyonSports) April 10, 2016
Feinberg used a fake Instagram to request access to Brien's account, and when she did, her recommended follows included "Patrice Comey," who is James' wife, and several other suggested "Comeys."
Only one suggested account called reinholdniebuhr was lacking in a "real name" or a profile photo, and it had just a few followers, as Comey said.
Feinberg Google searched the name, which led her to an article that mentioned that Comey wrote a senior thesis on theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and televangelist Jerry Falwell when he was in college.
She cracked the Instagram case, and took to Twitter with the information.
Feinbreg searched @ReinholdNiebuhr, but decided that based on the account's tweets, it probably was not Comey:
What's the point of watching fully-clothed beach volleyball? #nbcolympics
— Reinhold Niebuhr (@ReinholdNiebuhr) August 10, 2016
She then delved into the seven accounts on Twitter using a variation of "Reinhold Niebuhr" as a user name.
Only one, @projectexile7, seemed to be "operating in stealth," she wrote.
What is Project Exile, you ask? It's a federal program that James Comey helped develop when he was an attorney.
@ProjectExile7 follows 27 other accounts, which Feinberg writes are either reporters, news outlets, or official government and law enforcement accounts. The New York Times was his first follow, in case you were wondering. Also, he follows The Onion.
Of the 39 tweets that the account has liked thus far, eight refer to the FBI or James Comey.
Feinberg notes that none of this speculation is definitive proof that James Comey is @ProjectExile7, but it's very unlikely that it is anyone else.
Until we figure it out, now might be a good time to follow @ProjectExile7.
See photos of Comey: